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Op-Ed | Balancing our city’s budget while delivering for working-class New Yorkers

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Mayor Eric Adams

Our administration came into office with a clear mission: to protect public safety, revitalize our economy, and make all five boroughs more livable for the 8.3 million people who call New York City their home. For the last two years, we have worked every day to make our vision a reality. And the recently released Fiscal Year 2025 Preliminary Budget keeps us on track.

I am proud to report that jobs are up, crime is down, tourists are back, our streets are cleaner, and our children’s test scores are better. We have accomplished all this and delivered a balanced budget for New Yorkers.

It is important for New Yorkers to understand how we achieved this balanced budget that invests in working-class families, despite a perfect storm of COVID-19 stimulus funding drying up, tax revenue growth slowing, labor contracts that went years overdue, and an ongoing national humanitarian crisis that has brought more than 170,000 asylum seekers to our city in less than two years.

Despite a record $7.1 billion gap, we were able to balance and stabilize our budget without laying off a single city worker, raising taxes, and with minimal disruption to services that New Yorkers rely on. This is the result of careful fiscal planning and management. 

We made tough but necessary decisions like implementing a hiring freeze and a Program to Eliminate the Gap (PEG) savings program.  These steps, along with an unexpectedly strong economy, and lowering asylum seeker costs helped balance the budget.

And to properly manage the asylum seeker crisis, we helped file over 27,000 applications for asylum, work authorization, and temporary protected status. We also helped more than 60 percent of migrants take the next steps in their journeys.

Our strong fiscal management also helped to make restorations that put dollars back towards public safety, public space, and young people.

We restored funding for the April Police Academy Class, which means 600 additional officers out on our streets this fall. Additionally, we restored the fifth firefighter at 20 of the city’s engine companies because more firefighters on the job always helps.

We will maintain 23,000 litter baskets across the five boroughs, and continue to install the award-winning “Litter Basket of the Future,” so we can keep can winning the war against rats. And we will continue to fund our Parks Opportunity Program, which keeps our public spaces clean and green while helping our neighbors find job opportunities.

And to support one of our young people, our administration restored funding for 170 community schools so that students and families can continue to get the support they need, both in and out of the classroom. In addition, for the first time ever, our city will invest new funds into and entirely pay for Summer Rising, a program that impacts 110,000 children, and had originally been funded with temporary federal stimulus dollars.

Finally, libraries across all five boroughs will maintain their current level of funding so they do not have to further reduce the library programs and services that New Yorkers of all ages love.

All of these wins are possible because of our fiscal planning and discipline that keep our city safe and clean and open the doors of opportunity for everyone.

But we must continue to be cautious.

Experts expect the economy and job markets to slow this year, and asylum seekers will continue to arrive, so we must be vigilant and remain focused on making government more efficient and spending taxpayer dollars carefully. That is why we are proud that our preliminary budget includes a near-record Rainy-Day Fund of $8.2 billion. 

Running a city of any size is never easy. And balancing the many competing needs of a city like New York requires us to think ahead and make the best decisions we can for today and tomorrow. Everything we do is about making this city safer and making it work better for working-class New Yorkers. That is what this budget delivers.